Monday, December 31, 2012

Analogue Painting Challenge - HMS Eagle and Air Cover

Curt has some better photos of my latest entry on the Analogue Hobby blog - however, I think I did a little bit better than a photo-recon plane under heavy flak!

This is HMS Eagle circa 1941, a GHQ 1:2400 scale model, with air cover provided by 10 1:1200 models from Cap Aero (Fairey Fulmars and Swordfish).  The Eagle was started as a Chilean super-dreadnought Almirante Cochane (her sister ship served as HMS Canada at Jutland and then as the Almirante Latorre n the Chilean navy unitl the 50s).   Work stopped during WW1, but the incomplete hull was purchased by the Royal Navy and converted to a fleet carrier in the 1920s.  She served nobly in the Med and Indian Ocean during WW2 until sunk by a U-boat on the Pedestal convoy of 1942 that saved Malta during its darkest hours.

I've painted Eagle in a camouflage pattern based on pictures off the interweb.  These all showed her starboard side, so I had to wing it on the port side.  The Cap Aero models are mounted two to a base to represent a flight of aircraft with florist's wire supports.  When I get around to the float plane scouts I will mount those one to a base.  The Cap Aero models are beautiful but fiddly, especially the bi-planes which need their top wings glued on.   There are 3 bases of Swordfish and 2 of Fulmars for a total of 10.  

Fulmar fighters off Eagle's bow and stern with Stringbags to port and starboard, plus more on deck prior to take off.

The Swordfish or stringbag is one of the iconic naval planes of WW2.  Archaic looking and slow, it was rugged and popular with crews.  It also made the sinking of the Bismark possible, scored the coup at Taranto and participated in the air attacks that led to the victory at Matapan.   It was still serving at the end of the war, having out lasted the Albacore which had been intended as it's replacement.  It turned out that the slow speed and handling conditions of the stringbag were ideal for the escort carriers used on U-boat patrols.

The Fulmar was a carrier borne fighter that did good service but was outclassed by land based fighters.  it was heavy and less nimble, since the RN demanded a two seater aircraft.  However, it was tough and had a good range.  It was phased out and replaced by Sea Hurricanes, Seafires and Martlets.